Marilyn and Lou

In September 1973 I was accepted into the Ph.D. program in comparative psychology at the UA. I was wandering around on the fifth floor of the Psychology Department looking for my office. I peeked into an office and there sat Lou Zimmer looking up at me with an “Oh, no” expression on his face. He was a third year physiological psych major and from the reams of paper piled high on three desks, I easily guessed he was not happy at the prospect of having an officemate. I thought he was cute in a bookish way. He thought I was going to invade his office and interfere with his concentration.

Over the next two years we developed a close friendship. One day, I woke up and realized I wanted him to be more than an officemate. He moved in. We were starving students, but happy. In 1977, I graduated and accepted a clinical post-doc in California. After Lou finished his Ph.D., he decided to pursue an additional master’s degree in toxicology.

We kept a long-distance relationship going for a while, but those were the days before email and Skype, and neither of us knew where we would end up in our careers. I eventually tired of waiting and, stupidly, broke it off. We still saw each other from time to time, but careers seemed to take precedence.

After a few years, his mother sent me his wedding announcement. My knees buckled. I collapsed on my staircase and cried for the rest of the afternoon.

Thirty-three years later, I sent out a mass email about my daughter being elected to a state office. Lou emailed back. I was surprised, and a little nervous to open it. He wrote, “Life takes strange turns.”

He was single again, but didn’t know that I was, too. I wrote back. We decided to meet on a friends-only basis, of course. The “friends only” part lasted about 24 hours. Long story short, he moved from the East Coast to California to be with me. We’ve purchased a home and are hoping to retire in a few years. It was a long wait, but absolutely worth it.

Marilyn Wooley, 1977, Ph.D., Psychology